On Hamlet Author:Salvador de Madariaga This is no new "theory" about Hamlet or about Shakespeare. It is the outcome of a line-for-line and word-for-word study of the play in order to prepare a translation into Spanish verse. This study led Salvador de Madariaga to the conclusion that no commentator had so far put forward a consistent interpretation of the chief character, and therefo... more »re of the play.
A radical change in the generally accepted views on the matter is here put forward; but one backed at every step by direct reference to the actual words of Shakespeare; and when necessary, to the two chief sources, Saxo Grammaticus and Belleforest. The author has steered a middle course between those who speak of Hamlet, Ophelia and the rest as if they had really existed, and now analyze Hamlet as a Freudian case, now explain Ophelia's songs as reminiscences from her wicked (though nonexistent) nurse, and those who would only see in the characters mere puppets to utter the particular words and feelings the poet happens to need at the moment in order to hoodwink his audience.
He remains throughout faithful to the view that the characters cannot be thought of outside Shakespeare's own mind and character, whose life is their only life; but that they are "characters" all the same, i.e. human beings, albeit imagined, endowed with a semblance of unity sufficient to convince us of their existence not only while we hear or read the play but even when we recall them in our silent thoughts.« less